CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators call it “a prolific criminal enterprise” and now the identity theft ring has been shut down.
A grand jury has indicted 16 suspects on 168 counts. They’re accused of victimizing more than 100 people and businesses across Colorado.
A 108-page criminal indictment illustrates just how involved the identity theft ring was with many suspects and various roles. Investigators say the group bilked $20,000 out of people and businesses where fraudulent checks were being cashed.
Postal inspectors say they got involved in the investigation nearly a year ago. It started with mail theft in Arapahoe County.
“Mail that was intended for individuals that contained financial information, personal information, perhaps checks, cash; ingoing or outgoing mail may have been compromised,” Ray Quijas with the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office said.
Inspectors say the suspects had various roles. They stole mail right from mailboxes and the crimes began to grow.
“Individuals who were responsible for stealing mail; individuals who were responsible for creating bogus checks or fake checks; and individuals who recruited to negotiate or cash those checks,” Quijas said.
The indictment says the checks were being cashed at various retail outlets, including King Soopers, Walgreens, 7-Eleven and Safeway.
Some of the suspects named in the indictment identify Matthew McClusky as the ring leader. His house was searched. Investigators said they found computers, cameras, printers, magnetic strip readers and cell phones that would help create checks and further the alleged scheme. They also found real Colorado driver’s licenses from 14 people.
Five suspects are still on the run.
Postal inspectors want people to know that the U.S. mail system is very safe to use. They said the identity theft ring was a rare case.
McClusky’s mother told CBS4 her son is still in jail and that his bond was increased. She believes her son is innocent.
Eight law enforcement agencies across the state were involved in the investigation.